Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has denied allegations by indigenes of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), that the Nigerian Army illegally acquired their landed property located in some parts of the FCT.
Buratai who made this known following protest by indigenes of the FCT, accusing the army of land grabbing, urged the protesters to channel their complaints to the appropriate authorities.
The COAS, who spoke at the foundation-laying ceremony for the construction of the Army Command Estate and Headquarters Directorate of Army Legal Services at Giri along the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Road, advised the protesting youths to perish the idea as their actions would not yield any result.
Buratai, who said the estate land was allocated to the Nigerian Army in 1979, noted that the army got its Certificate of Occupancy that same year, adding that all the documents of the land were with the Abuja Geographical Information Service – AGIS, of the FCT.
According to him, “we paid the dues that were meant for the re-certification and got our acknowledgement. That is to say that we have legally and timely certify this particular land.
“So, any move to disrupt our activities here (ongoing construction work on the land) is going to be fruitless. We have all the legal backing.”
Speaking further Buratai said: “This particular estate (land) was granted to the Nigerian Army in 1979.
“However, we got the official allocation with the Right of Occupancy (C of O) in 1997 by the Federal Capital Administration.
“In 2011, when all lands in the territory were revoked and owners of the land were directed to re-certify their land, the Nigerian Army along with other services: Navy and Air Force, duly applied for the re-certification.”
He, therefore, advised those alleging that the army grabbed their land to channel to their complaints to the appropriate quarters rather than protesting and barricading the highways.
“The protesters should not allow themselves to be deceived and take the laws into their hands.”
To ensure encroachers do not encroach on the 4,000 hectares of land, the army has dug trenches around the entire area and commenced the construction of office and residential accommodation to accommodate the newly-established headquarters of Army Aviation Corps, Women corps, Space Command, as well as officers and soldiers quarters, the Nigerian Army Farms and Ranches Limited among other establishments of the army.